Brought to you once again this week courtesy of Bob Marley, Tito's Vodka, and one base model, bottom-banded, heather gray sweatshirt of sadness. $4.1 million a year, $15 million to fire you, Biels, and you can't even put together a winning ensemble, much less a winning game plan. Do you know what message you're sending out into the world with that sweatshirt? You're telling the world "I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable." That's what Jerry told George Costanza on Seinfeld, at least, and maybe Costanza is the perfect comparison. Do you pee in the shower at the gym? Have a secret desire to be a marine biologist? Did you spend the summer stripped to the waist eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery? The ocean may be running out of shrimp, but it appears that Arkansas will not be running out of Bielema anytime soon, so maybe you should try doing the opposite of whatever your instincts tell you. It worked for Costanza. You should give it a try, Coach. Start with something small. Like NOT relinquishing double digit first half leads. NOT building your brand around an offensive line that cannot keep its quarterback upright. NOT LOSING TO TEXAS A&M EVERY SINGLE GOD FORSAKEN YEAR.
Yesterday makes six consecutive losses to the Aggies, and the third overtime loss to them in the past four years. And they honestly all run together. They're all the same. Arkansas scores points, but Texas A&M scores more. Arkansas commits stupid penalties. Arkansas makes stupid plays. Arkansas makes stupid coaching decisions. Arkansas loses. Six years in a row. I'm sick of this shit. The game looks and feels different as it's being played than almost every other game Arkansas plays during the season, but strangely, when you look back on the season, the Texas A&M game almost perfectly reflects the season as a whole. I'm sick of that shit, too.
Offensively, it looks like maybe, MAYBE the Razorback offense will not be as bad this year as I feared they might be following TCU. Chase Hayden and David Williams know how to find the yards that are there on any given play, even if there are only a few of them. That's important. Devwah Whaley delivered for the most part when his number was called as well. The receiving corps is young and unproven and taking a lot of heat, but I swear, y'all, I think there may be some talent there. Austin Allen doesn't trust anyone he's got, and with good reason, but I'm hopeful for good things.
The Hogs' offensive line just has to make sure Austin still has a functioning brain and arm through the end of the season, but that looks like a dicey proposition at this moment. Six sacks and eight hurries allowed yesterday tells you all you need to know about where the weakest link in this offense lies. Allen is seeing pressure on virtually every pass play, and it is affecting his mentality as a quarterback. You see that he's in a different place compared with last year, right? It's affecting his decisions and his accuracy, and a lot of that lies at the feet of Kurt Anderson and his men. I don't know how to fix that. Get better. Get tougher. Get something, because the balance of the season will be decided here.
One last word about the offense, and that is simultaneous praise and scorn for Dan Enos' creativity. I loved the twin wrinkles of Chase Hayden in the wildcat and Cole "Swag Tebow" Kelley in short yardage. Arkansas needs more of both and more ideas like that to turn this season around.
Defense and special teams? I don't know what to say other than it should be a criminal offense to lose a football game because you cannot defend the most prevalent play in college football and because you chose to kick the ball to the fastest guy on the field who has burned you for years AND ALREADY BURNED YOU EARLIER IN THE GAME. I'm not giving up on the 3-4 and I'm not complaining about tackling because I honestly think it is better than it typically is at this point in the season, but great googly moogly, can we please learn to defend a read-option run and point the ball away from the speed freak kick returner?
So, that’s that. Another L to A&M. A 1-2 start. What now? The fact of the matter is that this is year five, and this fan base cannot sustain itself with good feelings about doing things the right way with lovable players. We can only hold onto that tearful embrace with Trey Flowers before the 2014 Ole Miss game for so long. We can only get so much mileage out of fondly recalling Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams and whipping Texas and 4th and 25. The incredible moments that Bret Bielema has delivered in his stint at Arkansas have to be vacuum-sealed in time to maintain their flavor, lest they be tainted by the fog of the mediocre football they were surrounded by. Five years in, that cannot suffice. Arkansas fans deserve great moments that they can remember as one point in the arc of a season they won't forget, not a bright nugget of happiness that served only as fuel to continue the slog through one more season of "maybe next year." This is year five. We're not getting closer. We're drifting further away.
I'll see y'all next week.